Councils will soon be given new powers to fine private landlords up to £30,000 for housing offences.
Under the new legislation – due for introduction in October – councils will be able to set minimum bedroom size standards and also introduce limits on how many people can live in each bedroom of a licensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). Those found to be in breach of overcrowding and living conditions regulations could be subject to fines levied directly by local authorities.
The planned measures form part of the Government’s crackdown on rogue landlords, initially introduced in January, and include banning orders for the worst offenders.
The new standards will concern all private landlords applying for new licences, while those who own existing licensed properties will be given up to 18 months to make necessary changes when re-applying for a licence after it has expired.
The plans could help crack down on rogue landlords who exploit tenants by letting cramped and sometimes squalid or dangerous properties.
According to the space requirements proposed by the Government, rooms used for sleeping by one person over ten-years-old must be a minimum of 6.51sqm, while those slept in by two people over ten must be no smaller than 10.22sqm. Rooms slept in by children of ten years or younger must measure at least 4.64sqm.
A Spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, comments: “This move will help ensure tenants have the space they need and deserve, as well as reduce health and safety risks they face by sharing cooking and washing facilities with too many people.”
Landlords, we remind you to ensure that your properties have the relevant licences, are safe and comfortable for your tenants, and that you comply with all applicable regulations – this will prevent you paying out a hefty £30,000 fine and will keep your tenants secure.